Caramelized Onion Pear & Walnut Stuffing. A flavorful and easy-to-make Thanksgiving stuffing made with caramelized onions, pears, celery, walnuts, and dried cranberries.
Since I was a kid, stuffing was always my favorite side dish at Thanksgiving. Maybe because I grew up eating Cuban-Style Three Meat + Plantain Stuffing. Yup, that was one hearty stuffing. I looked forward to that dish every year!
Last year was the first time my mom requested a vegetarian stuffing. Trust me, I was just as shocked. Her logic was that we shouldn’t mix so many meats into one dinner. We’re already having turkey so we can’t have ground meat too. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
We ended up making some random recipe from the Internets. This year, however, I’m bringing something new to the table – this caramelized onion, pear, and walnut stuffing!
The most important ingredient for this stuffing is patience. Why? Because caramelizing onions takes SO LONG. I love them. They’re delicious. But I wish I could just buy them in the store already ready to go. I am not a patient person. The good news is you can caramelized onions ahead of time and place them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Oh and in case you were wondering, this nonstick pan is the BEST pan for caramelizing onions.
Once you caramelized the onions, the rest is pretty straight forward. In a skillet, you melt butter then add pears, celery, walnuts, cranberries and herbs. Sauté for a few minutes while you toast the bread in the oven. Mix everything together – bread, onions, this delicious pear walnut mixture – and into a baking dish it goes.
The result is a sweet, salty, slightly moist, flavorful combo that also happens to be a great vegetarian option! I honestly can’t say any more good things about this dish.
Stuffing is one of those dishes where you can truly customize it to your liking. That’s just what I did here. I loooove caramelized onions. So I started with that as the base and just kept thinking of different variations. After a few recipe tests, this version was my absolute favorite.
I hope you make it and LOVE it!
OTHER SIDE DISHES YOU MAY LIKE:
- 5-Ingredient Crispy Sliced Roasted Potatoes
- Vegan Roasted Cauliflower Gratin
- Cuban-Style Three Meat + Plantain Stuffing
- Mini Sweet Corn Casseroles
- Chorizo Mac and Cheese with Cheesy Pork Rind Topping
- Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (sub for vegan butter)
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 pears, chopped
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup shelled walnuts, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, (sub for vegetable broth to keep vegetarian)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and reduce heat to low. Sauté until onions are soft, golden brown and caramelized, approximately 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.* Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cubed bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted.
- Meanwhile in a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add pears, celery, walnuts, cranberries, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer mixture to the bowl with the caramelized onions. Add cubed bread and gently stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish. Pour chicken stock and remaining melted butter on top. Cover baking dish with foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy!